SYDNEY, N.S. "It's good to have good neighbors.
Less than a week after the Sydney Communications Center unexpectedly shut down, the nearest neighbor of the facility has stepped up support for more than 600 former ServiCom employees and their families who have lost their job of closing.
With less than two weeks until Christmas, the local branch of the Salvation Army, located just above Ingles Street, now the empty ServiCom building in Sydney's shopping mall, is doing its best to make the holiday season a little easier for the previous call center workers.
Major Corri Vincent said the popular charity known for Christmas collectors saw an increase in donations from the devastating news Thursday in the streets.
"We noticed a huge spill from the community – with the funds that have been donated, we can now look at some of the larger needs of ServiCom employees," Vincent said.
"Many of us are numb and we do not really see the level of despair until something like that happens – the media have that story there and we get people donating from all over Canada.
"So, we can put these funds at Christmas, making sure families are comfortable and we do not have to insist on Christmas, and we look at some other possibilities – we get donations from people and clubs and organizations, that's amazing."
Vincent met with Sydney businessman Parker Rudderham, owner and president of the Wholesaler who donated $ 15,000 in cash to the Salvation Army.
The successful businessman said he and his team had decided to help after hearing the closure of ServiCom last week.
"It's a shock to lose 600-700 jobs in a community, especially in a community like the one where the misery index is through the roof to get started, and then it's added to it – I know it's necessary makes it even more useful because they need these staff to be near Christmas and we are happy to do the little to help, "said Rudarham.
"This is not a question of who gives it the most, it does not mean anything, it's about giving, if you can – I know it is necessary and it makes it even more useful because it needs, The Salvation Army is a wonderful organization and I know the money will be well spent. "
Vincent said Sally Anne accepted more than just cash. He showed the incredibly large "toy room" of the church, which already has everything from the latest toys to an abundance of stuffed animals, including huge blue octopus.
"Toy donations have risen, and now we know we have 200 more children to provide them with Christmas, so we want them to wake up knowing that Santa Claus has visited their home," he said.
"And we will make sure that every cent of the donated money is spent where it should be."
The Cape Bretton Regional Chamber of Commerce supported the salvation army and encouraged the occupants of the area to consider donating the cause.
"It was a tough week for Cape Breton and with our holidays and the colder temperatures outside, these workers need community support," said Chief Executive Officer Kathleen Yurcain.
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Other organizations, businesses and individuals also do what they can to help. A local pizza shop, Alexandra, sold vouchers for a gift to now unemployed workers from Servilcom, while the Sea-based Reserve Mines canceled the planned Christmas party and instead gave $ 10,000 to the Salvation Army.
Sobeys local stores also break and make more than 600 turkeys available through Sally Ann. Families will be notified and will be able to catch the Christmas bird on December 19 or 20.
And as usual, the food banks of Cape Breton always accept donations and could use even more help, given the many additional families that may need additional help this Christmas.
On a connected front, former ServiCom employees are encouraged to visit one of the four information sessions that will be presented by the Provincial Provincial Staff of the province of Truda and the advanced education, organized from 9:30 am and 1 am on both Thursday and Friday in the Ashby Legion in Sydney. The team, composed of provincial, federal and community partners, will provide former ServiCom employees with tools, training and resources.
Cape Breton Transit offers a free shuttle service to and from the information sessions of those who show their ServiCom employee ID numbers.
On Tuesday, the province announced some programs and services to help ServiCom employees, who are said to be eligible for a six-week training program that will also provide financial support during the course including networking, resolving conflicts, skills and stress management. The department also said workers affected could apply for a $ 200 discount to cover the cost of heating the home.
Meanwhile, call center manager Todd Reilly said the efforts continue to pay the former employees of the site, some of which were not paid for four weeks, and helped sell the center to an interested American businessman.